John Warner Clow
John Warner Clow
A True Gentleman - 1930-2011
John Warner Clow passed away at home peacefully, July 11, 2011, following a five-year affliction with Parkinson's disease. He was 80. A resident of Sonoma for 17 years, John was the financial and management leader of numerous companies, but most importantly, he was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and uncle.
John was born in Denver, Colo., on Oct. 14, 1930, the son of the late John Bailey Clow and Margaret Louise Warner of Denver, Colo. John attended East High School in Denver, before receiving his AB from Dartmouth College in 1952 and attending the Tuck School of Business as a member of the class of 1953, both in Hanover, N.H. Following college, John entered the United States Air Force and earned the rank of captain, serving in Dublin. Nearby he took advantage of the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, where he completed his MBA degree in 1954.
John moved to San Francisco where he met and married the late Martha Hewitt deMey, April 10, 1956. In 1957, John moved to Mill Valley, and then Ross, where he helped raise five children - Eric deMey Clow, of Los Altos Hills; Gregory Vincent Clow, of Larkspur; Amelia Bayley (Clow) Moynihan, of San Rafael; Guy Rowan Clow, of Fairfax; and Louise Crankshaw Clow, of Sausalito. John and Martha divorced in 1983.
John married Abby Dickow Biegel, of Ross, on Dec. 31, 1985. John and Abby moved to Sonoma, where they tended a small llama ranch and frequently welcomed family to visit and celebrate holidays. "Papa John" is survived by his wife, Abby; Abby's son, David Biegel; his five children' and nine grandchildren: Chase, John, Jacqueline, Reyna, Madeleine, Dylan, Ryan, Logan and Quinn. He leaves a brother, William Wyllys Clow, of Toledo, Ohio, and 10 nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister, Jean Louise Clow Irwin, of Calgary, Canada, in 2007.
John's life was a mix of personal accomplishment and family responsibility. During two years at the University of Colorado at Boulder, John submitted the "14ers" - a collection of Colorado peaks over 14,000 feet. He was an avid skier, and worked as a ski patrol member for 10 years, and tried his hand as a college ski jumper at Dartmouth. Shortly before becoming a father for the first time, John became a pilot and soloed. His ability as an accountant and CPA took him to Webb and Webb Accounting in San Francisco, where he became a partner. In 1971, he left to start his own firm, Clow Accountancy, which at one time expanded to four offices throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. In 1972, John became active in the San Francisco Chapter of the California CPA Society, serving as president. His children remember the spring time trips to Yosemite where the annual meetings were held, and the silent Super 8 movies John was known for. John was published in Who's Who in America.
In the late '70s, he became active with Dartmouth College, serving as the North Bay Dartmouth Club president, Western Regional Enrollment Director, and in following years, a leading fund raiser. John joined Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco as a financial advisor and helped put the original microbrew company on a firm footing, which helped to start the nationwide microbrew phenomena. In the '80s, John became chief financial officer of Rogue Valley Polymers in Ashland, Ore., where he kept a second home and reveled in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. With the sale of the company in 1987, John became a boardmember of the Norwegian parent company, requiring five years of annual Oslo trips. John was thrilled with the opportunity to travel north of the Arctic Circle, and to see the Northern Lights.
In the years that followed, John purchased and managed an early Internet franchise, and he published a series of family genealogy books, most importantly "Clow, Warner, Bailey and Farnsworth Families, 1900-1934," where he chronicled the early childhood and untimely death of his mother, Margaret Louise Warner Clow, when John was under 4 years old. In 2002, John and Abby joined the docent team at the Bouverie Preserve of Audubon Canyon Ranch in Glen Ellen where he led young Junipers on naturalist hikes. He became active in the Sonoma Ecology Center, serving on their board for five years, as well as getting further into the llama lifestyle with Llamas of the Wine Country. Throughout his last 15 years, John and Abby traveled together extensively, enjoying their visits to Europe, Africa, Central and South America. In the summer of 2010, John joined a family cruise to Alaska and truly enjoyed being the patriarch of a large and vibrant family.
John was fond of bird watching, growing his wide variety of garden plants, feeding the llamas and watching the San Francisco Giants. He tracked ticker symbols on endless green spreadsheets and he tackled thousand piece puzzles. He played chess with his grandchildren and loved a cold Anchor Steam beer at his many favorite lunch spots in Sonoma. His children will remember walks to the post office in Ross, the family car-camping trips up the West Coast, and listening to his favorite Sunday "waffle music." Abby will remember John as he was: a true gentleman, deeply loved, and now, dearly missed.
A private memorial service and celebration of John's life was held for his children in Sonoma, on July 17, 2011.